Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

19 Oct 2010

ESPN AGS: Seahawks Over Bears

It's a tale of two lines this week in Any Given Sunday. You're probably familiar with the woeful state of the Chicago offensive line, but the experiment on Seattle's defensive line, and the big results it's producing, may surprise you.

Posted by: Vincent Verhei on 19 Oct 2010

10 comments, Last at 21 Oct 2010, 10:48am by Eddo


by JasonG (not verified) :: Tue, 10/19/2010 - 2:39pm

I had been optimistic about this team (the Bears) most of the season, but as of Week 6, I just can't be that way anymore. I didn't think they were playing as a top NFC team, but saw enough good stuff and time to improve in a new system with a new line to be optimistic, but there's been no growth over 6 games.

Has any team ever been last in sacks and "lead" the league in sacks allowed? What's the worst sack differential of all time? And what's the worst third down conversion rate (on offense) ever? Are they going to break both of these records?

Consistent yardage gains? No. Consistent D? No. Instead, team success is almost entirely dependent on special teams, turnovers and hopefully a home run play. Awful getting to opposition QBs, awful protecting their own QB, awful run game, awful on third down (on offense, merely bad on defense). Awful coaching decisions (play calling, protection calling, clock and time-out management). I thought with some youth and time, the O line would come together, the receivers would improve, Martz wouldn't consistently open Cutler to concussions and Tommie Harris would show up. NONE of those things have happened. They have a couple more weeks before the schedule turns tougher. At this point, it doesn't seem like progress is happening as expected or will happen going into that stretch. I think they're toast.

by Ajit (not verified) :: Tue, 10/19/2010 - 7:16pm

DO the bears even have any sort of offensive talent at all? I'm not a big fan of their receivers anymore than their putrid offensive line. Matt forte and greg olsen are good to serviceable players but the fact that the offensive has this level of talent on the field is an example of matt millen type of incompetence. The gm should be fired for this alone.

by Tundrapaddy (not verified) :: Thu, 10/21/2010 - 5:01am

The bears have talent on offense. They've got a good (not great) running back, a good QB, and decent WRs. And a good pass-catching tight end.

UNFORTUNATELY, they have bugger-all talent on the offensive line, coupled with an OC who likes to play every game as if you lose points if the ball doesn't move forward through the air. Ironically, if the tight end were better at blocking and less used as a passing option, they'd probably be much improved with regards to offensive stats.

A crappy line and a pass-schizo coordinator do not a successful offense make.

by tuluse :: Thu, 10/21/2010 - 5:14am

Not like Ron Turner was hugely successful.

Bad lines make coordinators look bad, it doesn't really matter what their philosophy is. If the Bears pounded the rock and went 3 and out every drive after 4 yards and a couple clouds of dust it wouldn't really be much better.

by Eddo :: Thu, 10/21/2010 - 10:48am

"Ironically, if the tight end were better at blocking and less used as a passing option, they'd probably be much improved with regards to offensive stats."

Actually, I think a huge weakness is that, due to their line, the Bears have to use Manumaleuna (essentially an extra lineman, not really a tight end) way too much.

by Hawk Blogger (not verified) :: Tue, 10/19/2010 - 9:53pm

Shhhhhhhh! The Seahawks defense stinks!! They are pushovers. Please ignore the top 5 pass rushing team and 2nd-ranked run stuffing team. Nothing to see here. Earl Thomas is not a rookie of the year candidate, and Lawyer Milloy isn't a legit Pro Bowl safety at 36 years old. Nothing to see here. Move along.

by Andrew Potter :: Tue, 10/19/2010 - 11:11pm

You forgot "they can't win on the road".

by Keasley (not verified) :: Wed, 10/20/2010 - 9:36am

I'm a Seahawks fan, and enjoy the 'ink' and cred from FO (ahem ESPN) but according to DVOA this was not an upset at all. The Seahawks came into the game ranked 13th while the Bears were at 24. In fact, following the victory, the Seahawks rank dropped to 14 and the Bears stayed at 24 so, even recognizing that the ranks are also affected by all the other teams in the NFL, DVOA didn't seem that impressed with the win. Of course, outside the numbers, for the Seahawks to win on the road against a team with a better-than-.500 record at 10am PST is rare and unexpected. Since the last time the team has accomplished such a win they've won 4 playoff games and played in a Superbowl...

by Vincent Verhei :: Wed, 10/20/2010 - 1:35pm

Bears were six-point favorites. Sometimes the story of an upset is that it shouldn't have been considered an upset at all.

by Dr. Mooch :: Wed, 10/20/2010 - 2:21pm

. . . and even with DVOA indicating the Seahawks as a much better team, FO's own premium picks algorithm favored Chicago to win.